Sunday, January 29, 2017

KC's Craft Beer Dining

Location: KC's Craft Beer Dining


Rating: Very good
Meal:  Dinner
Price:  2730 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Garlic chicken curry, garlic chicken tikka, beer, rice
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No


The latest Indian restaurant to open (again) is KC's Craft Beer Dining.  It replaces the previous Sherpa and is under new (but still Nepalese) ownership.  I ate here first by myself and later came back with my wife and we've tried a lot things off the menu now.  I quite like the different food items and especially the good beer (it comes in Liters!).  I was speaking with the guy there and apparently the owner has a relationship with a German importer which accounts for some Germanic food and wine we saw on the menu.  He said he will also be getting some German beers soon!


For my first meal (the one reviewed here) I went for garlic options, the garlic chicken curry (serviceable) and the garlic chicken tikka.  I also had a beer (so you can subtract 900 yen off the price if you won't be partaking).  I enjoyed my food and beer, and especially the spicy chutney sauce you can ladle onto stuff.


Overall I enjoyed the meal a lot and will be going back (already have!).  It was a ton of food and I asked to take the rest home which I enjoyed for lunch the next day.


Manchinro Honten

Location: Manchinro Honten


Rating: Very good
Meal:  Lunch for 2
Price:  10300 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Lots of dimsum
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No (but maybe somewhere, it's a big building)


My wife and I are dimsum fiends, but it's been hard to find good dimsum in Japan.  I stumbled across some reviews of Manchinro Honten (a restaurant in Chinatown) that raved about their dimsum, so we gave it a try after church one Sunday.  It's a very fancy looking restaurant and was apparently founded in the late 1800's, was destroyed in the firebombing of WWII and has since been rebuilt.  I believe they now have a few branches around too.

They had an easy to read English menu and a dimsum lunch special that would have been about 3500 yen per person, so we thought we could beat those prices and get the items we wanted for less, so we proceeded to order ala cart.  As you can see above, we did not beat the price of the lunch special at all, but we did get to taste our favorites.

There were a few very tasty items, the green beans being amazing (though I cannot justify the 2000 yen price tag), and their home made dumplings were the best bang for the buck.  I can't comment on every single dish, but I will highlight the best ones in the picture comments below.

Overall we had very good meal that was very expensive.  Honestly too expensive for what we had.  I think there are probably better priced options available among the thousands of restaurants in Chinatown, but without spending some serious time investigating all the options I don't know if I'll ever find them.

Amazing green beans with XO sauce

So-so shumai

Adequate

Not our favorite beef balls

Very good pork in rice noodles

Best flavor for the price housemade dumplings

I would skip the beef spare-ribs (oily and bony)

Incredible tofu skin wrapped bamboo shoots and meat

Decent charshiu buns

Very expensive and interesting rice dish


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Hokkaido

Location: Hokkaido

Rating: OK
Meal: Dinner
Price: 1840 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Pork rice bowl, sake
English Menu: Yes (electronic)
Smoking:  Smoking section available


Hokkaido is another izakaya in town that has a very "chain" feel to it.  It's located at the top of the building across from Chuo station, next to another similar restaurant and our favorite cheap karaoke spot.  I love Hokkaido (the island) and have had really good food there, so I was interested to see how this restaurant stacked up.


Not being very hungry I opted for a "butadon" (pork rice bowl), a specialty of the area around Obihiro where we once stayed for a week at a restaurant/butcher where we helped them make sausages and washed dishes up after dinner.  In exchange we got room and board, including local butadon and free Sapporo beer from the tap.  It was a really good time that we look back on fondly.  BTW, the website where you can do this sort of thing all over Japan and the world is WWOOF.  And here is a link with the story and pictures from our experience.

But back to the restaurant.  I also tried a sake from Hokkaido.  The sake was not the greatest, but it was cheap.  Same with the butadon.  The pork was thicker, chewy and not well marinated.  Oh well, it was good enough for dinner.  Most of the rest of the menu consists of a lot of seafood which I can't imagine is the freshest, though they did have live crabs available in a tank.

My meal was just an Ok this time.  I might come back with my wife if she's interested and try some other stuff on the menu.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Torikaya

Location: Torikaya


Rating: OK
Meal: Dinner
Price: 3120 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Sukiyaki, rice, sake
English Menu: No
Smoking:  Yes


I was wandering about looking for something new in Yokosuka last night when I passed by what I swear used to be an Italian restaurant I hadn't gotten to yet.  But it was no longer an Italian restaurant and now looked like a new Izakaya.  The staff was welcoming and ushered me inside to the place, which was pretty much empty the entire time I was there.

Mandatory appetizer

They had a sukiyaki special which looked good, so I ordered that along with some high end sake.  The sukiyaki arrived in a large pot with sauce in it absolutely mounded with meat and vegetables.  They turned the gas on and left it to bubble for a while.  When it finally got hot, I found it so full I couldn't really do anything without broth spilling, so they came and took some broth away.  I had to order a bowl of rice as I didn't fancy just eating the meat and veg by itself.  I was a bit disappointed overall as the experience wasn't as enjoyable as when a cast iron pan is used and you add a little sauce and water at a time to keep things just a bit moist and then at the end all the evaporated goodness concentrates the flavor.  This was all soup and you just scooped it out, more like nabe than sukiyaki.


It was an ok meal, but not that great honestly.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Kitchen Origin

Location: Kitchen Origin


Rating: OK
Meal: Lunch for 3
Price: 1945 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: 3 bento
English Menu: No
Smoking: No


Kitchen Origin is a bento shop that was on the walk to church on Sunday.  We were picking up bento so we could eat lunch afterwards and have a meeting.  It's a nice bento shop, with good looking stuff to eat.  But even so it's just bento, so I'm giving it an Ok.

Imakatsu

Location: Imakatsu
Rating: Excellent
Meal:  Lunch for 2
Price:  3160 yen
Payment:  Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Special tonkatsu, oyster fry (3 pieces)
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No


Imakatsu was recommended by a friend at work who said it's the best tonkatsu he's ever had in Japan.  That's high praise considering how much tonkatsu is available here.  So far our favorite has been Hiro Katsu right where we live in Yokosuka.  Imakatsu is in Roppongi (and some other spots I believe) and we decided to eat lunch there the day after the night we spent there.


It's located down a back alley surrounded by very seedy places, but it is quite nice inside.  We were waiting outside for it to open along with some gentlemen who struck up a conversation with us.  Turns out one of them is a butcher who specializes in importing American meat, and Imakatsu is a customer of his.

They are welcoming of foreigners and had an English menu.  I went for the slightly more expensive "special" tonkatsu lunch, and my wife opted for the 3 piece kaki (oyster) fry.  My tonkatsu was, frankly, incredible, the thickest slab of deep fried pork I've ever eaten, super fatty and done to perfection, nothing tough about it.  My wife's oysters were a disappointment with one being overdone and the others having less flavor than usual, which is odd as this is the season for good oysters.  However, on the strength of my dish, I'm still giving it an Excellent rating.

Was it better than Hiro Katsu?  Hard to tell, since the cut of meat had so much to do with it.  I have to say I think we prefer Hiro Katsu though, due to the better flavor of the batter, the wonderful little bites of deep fried vegetables and fruit, and the tonkatsu sauce is superior in my opinion.  Oh and his soup is better and it's all for 1000 yen.  Ok, so Hiro Katsu still wins, but Imakatsu was definitely an amazing experience!

Pizzakaya

Location: Pizzakaya

Rating: Excellent
Meal:  Dinner for 2
Price:  3530 yen
Payment:  Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Santa Fe pizza, one beer
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No


On our third try during our evening in Roppongi, we finally struck gold!  We had passed by Pizzakaya earlier in the evening as we walked towards our original destination, and on the way be to our hotel we decided to check it out on a whim.  We were very glad we did!


First, we saw they had Rogue Dead Guy ale on the menu, so of course we had to have one of those.  Then as we started reading the menu we were very impressed and decided to try the Santa Fe pizza which had BBQ chicken, caramelized onions and fresh guacamole.  When it arrived we were blown away by the flavor.  The guac was clearly fresh and as my wife kept repeating was the equivalent of an entire avocado on our pizza.  The meat was super tasty and the caramelized onions absolute perfection.  The flavor just kept jumping out at us with every bite.  This is the best pizza we've had in Japan to date, hands down.  We really wanted to come back the next day but there were some other spots on our must try list.

Kedar Kebab

Location: Kedar Kebab

Rating: Not great
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 4500 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Mousaka, tavuk sis
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: Yes


Our second spot to try during our evening in Roppongi, my wife and I were suckered in by a Turkish food stall that purported to have shisha.  We should have moved on, but unfortunately we stuck it out for a while.


The food was quite forgettable, with the mousaka being essentially spaghetti sauce with eggplant, and the roasted chicken quite flavorless.

And the shisha was terrible.  Oh, and everything was expensive.  Not recommended.

Two Dogs Taproom

Location: Two Dogs Taproom


Rating: OK
Meal: Dinner for 2
Price: 4650 yen
Payment: Credit cards accepted
Dishes: Lamb with arugula pizza, 4 beers
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: Separate section


My wife and I spent the night in Roppongi over the weekend and got to try out several new restaurants in the area.  We were desirous of good beer, so we found Two Dogs Taproom and on the strength of their large taps we gave it a try.  We lucked out in that on a Sunday evening we were in time for both happy hour and 50% off pizzas.  The beer was very good, however, this is a food blog, so I rate these places on the food itself.

Beer menu

Unfortunately the pizza was a bit disappointing and only merits an Ok.  The lamb arugula pizza sounded like a great idea, but the result was lackluster.  We finished up unsatisfied and resolved to try again and find something delicious elsewhere.
Rogue and Stone Brewery were available!
 
The disappointing pizza

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Tekka Tuna Koukeimaru

Location: Tekka Tuna Koukeimaru

Rating: Very good
Meal:  Dinner
Price:  2000 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Miso marinated seared swordfish, one piece fatty bluefin tuna, 6 pieces bigeye tuna nigiri
English Menu: Yes
Smoking: No (there's an area behind the shop you can smoke)


I am pleased to review a new restaurant in the neighborhood:  Tekka Tuna Koukeimaru.  Opening up where an older style vegetable stand used to be, it has apparently been open for a few months but somehow I missed it.  I hope it does well, because it fills a niche here in Yokosuka that should be attractive to the many americans living here:  un-intimidating sushi!

Fatty tuna nigiri

It has a wide-open feel, an excellent and simple English menu, and a very welcoming proprietor who speaks very good English.  I was the only customer last night and we spoke for a long time with each other about various things.  Apparently a large seafood freezing company owns to boats that go out and fish for tuna.  They sell some of their catch in the local Yokosuka Port Market shop, but now they also have this restaurant outlet as well.  All the fish is locally caught and quite fresh.

Miso marinated swordfish

I had purchased a tuna roll the other day to supplement a meager lunch (which was very good by the way) so last night I wanted to try the other offerings.  Although they specialize in tuna, they also had swordfish on the menu which I was interested in.  I went for the regular miso marinated (as opposed to the sweet Kyoto miso) and it was a nicely seared piece of fish I ended up receiving that had excellent flavor and texture (no bones).  I was going to all out and get the 6 piece nigiri set of fatty tuna, but he was out of fish and I had to settle for a single piece.  It was amazing though.  Instead I ordered a 6 piece nigiri set of mid-fatty tuna (bigeye) and it came with two different cuts of fish.  I was given an interesting tutorial on the different places on the fish that the meat comes from.  Also, free of charge, I was given a cooked piece of inner skin lining (no scales).  This was an interesting change of texture, not bad, but not very flavorful either.  I am looking forward to returning for lunch some time to try their tuna bowls that look very tasty.

Tuna nigiri

Overall I was very pleased and hope to tell many people about this place.  I hope they are doing well enough to stay open!  Definitely a solid Very Good.

Different cut of tuna nigiri
Inner tuna skin